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November 4, 2021 | View as webpage

Leaders, 

In today’s Paramedic Chief Leadership Briefing, Lexipol Editorial Director Greg Friese, MS, NRP, shares how EMS agencies are showcasing the leading role public safety is taking to reduce emissions and use of fossil fuels through the addition of electric vehicles.  

► What is your agency doing to reduce its carbon footprint? Email us at editor@ems1.com to share.   

Additionally, Linda Willing shares how the ABLE program can be adapted for EMS to give providers the tools to intervene when they notice a coworker’s behavioral health changes.  

► Learn how EAPs, chaplaincy and peer support teams can create psychologically healthy workplaces by viewing the Zoll-sponsored on-demand webinar, “How to create a mental health-friendly environment at your service.” 

Stay well, 

— Kerri Hatt 
Editor-in-Chief, EMS1 

 

FEATURED CONTENT
Trending topic: Electric vehicles for public safety
By Greg Friese, MS, NRP 

While leaders from 90 countries are meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, this week for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to discuss climate change and strategies to slow global temperature rise, public safety organizations are already taking action. Almost every week, we receive news from public safety organizations leading the way with electric vehicle purchases, new green building construction or renovations, or efforts to better prepare police, fire and EMS for prevention of response to illness, injury or property damage caused by natural disasters.  

Here are some recent news items from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS agencies that showcase the leading role of public safety inside local and state government to accelerate action on reducing emissions and use of fossil fuels through the addition of electric vehicles to public safety fleets.  

All electric ambulances 

Ambulances have unique regulatory requirements to transport a two-person crew, a large amount of patient care equipment, and transport at least one patient secured to a cot that are not easily met by converting existing electric passenger vehicles or fleet vehicles. To meet the need for an all-electric ambulance several manufacturers have announced plans to develop and build an EMS-specific electric vehicle platform.  

Lightning eMotors and REV Group, Inc. have partnered to develop an all-electric ambulance, based on Lightning eMotors' fourth-generation Lightning Electric Transit Van by the end of 2021. The vans offer up to 105 kWh of battery capacity and can be charged via Level 2 AC charging or DC fast charging, according to the companies. 

Demers Ambulances and the Lion Electric Company, a leading manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles, unveiled the Demers eFX Ambulance, the first all-electric and purpose-built ambulance, in October 2021. The new ambulance is scheduled to be ready in the second half of 2022. 

In the United Kingdom, the North East Ambulance Service and other services are working with Ford to design an electric double-crewed ambulance from the EV Ford Transit. The service plans to have a fully electric fleet by 2030. 

Not every EMS response requires a patient transport vehicle. In 2020 the Eugene Springfield (Oregon) Fire Department began working with electric vehicle company Arcimoto to test the three-wheeled Rapid Responder. The vehicle, which can travel at a top speed of 75 miles per hour, features a miniature lightbar and siren, 360-degree scene lights, a cargo compartment, equipment rack and seating for two crewmembers. The vehicle might be useful for special event standby or areas not easily accessible to a full-size ambulance.  

Community paramedics in Sudbury, Ontario, are responding to non-urgent, scheduled patient appointments from a Tesla Model 3. City of Greater Sudbury’s Paramedic Services has four Teslas that are used during the daytime and charged at the station overnight.  

Electric vehicle charging 

Depending on how a public safety agency plans to charge their electric vehicles they will need to install either level 3 direct current chargers or level 2 alternating current chargers. Level 3 chargers, like the Tesla Supercharger network, quickly replenish a vehicle's battery but are much more expensive to install. Level 2 chargers, which most consumer electric vehicle owners use at home, are lower cost and less expensive to install, but take longer to charge the vehicle.  

Leon County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office recently deployed the EV ARC solar-powered EV charging system from Beam Global to charge the department’s electric vehicles. The system generates and stores its own electricity and can be used day or night and during power outages.  

Electric vehicle adoption will accelerate 

Though electric vehicles are currently a fraction of a percent of total vehicle purchases by fire departments, law enforcement agencies and EMS organizations, I expect that to change rapidly in the next few years. A combination of successful implementations, lower cost, higher performance, accelerating technology, increased vehicle options and lofty carbon emissions reduction goals will drive more and more electric vehicle purchases in the years ahead.  

Additional resources:
Real interoperability can help save lives on the front lines.

 
But it's only real interoperability if all first responders can communicate across networks with seamless priority and preemption. So they can stay connected and share mission-critical information at all times. Across all agencies, devices, applications and networks. That's why Verizon Frontline is built to support real interoperability.
 
Get the facts
A quiet revolution: How can we apply ABLE to EMS?
By Linda Willing 

ABLE – Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement – is a program that is gaining traction across the United States.

The ABLE program was officially created in 2020 through Georgetown University Law Center. Since its inception just over a year ago, more than 160 law enforcement agencies have signed onto the program.

The inspiration for this program came from an initiative adopted by the New Orleans Police Department in 2014 called EPIC: Ethical Policing is Courageous.

Prior to 2014, the NOPD was, by its own admission, considered one of the most troubled law enforcement agencies in the country, as it was plagued by incidents of officer misconduct, mistakes and litigation. EPIC was created in conjunction with Loyola University and local civil rights leaders to address some of these issues.

Understanding ABLE

After the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, which was witnessed by three other officers who did not intervene, Georgetown University moved to develop a program to prevent such incidents in the future. Using the principles developed through the EPIC program, a national effort was launched to teach bystander skills to law enforcement personnel with three key purposes:

  1. Preventing and mitigating mistakes
  2. Stopping and preventing officer misconduct
  3. Improving officer health and wellness

Through the use of practical scenarios and valid social science research, the new program, ABLE, promotes the skills and will for officers to intervene when they see another officer going down a dangerous path. Its goal is to change the culture of policing for the benefit of officers and those they serve.

ABLE training consists of a one-day class for all law enforcement personnel that teaches strategies, skills and rationale for intervention with peers and colleagues. These classes are normally taught by in-house personnel who complete a weeklong train-the-trainer course through ABLE. Outside trainers are also available through a partnership with the FBI National Academy. All training and resources provided by ABLE are entirely cost-free to participants.

But those who want to be part of ABLE must make a commitment to be accepted. Every agency that applies must submit four letters of recommendation – one from the department head, one from the mayor or comparable governmental leader, and two from community groups with a stake in the outcome of improved policing. In addition, all participating agencies must commit to 10 other standards, including regular in-service training, the creation and support of an officer wellness program, and the appointment of an in-house liaison to the program.

The purpose of ABLE is not only to teach practical skills of constructive bystander intervention, but also to change the culture of an organization so that such intervention will be both expected and accepted. Historically in the emergency services, someone who might change the course of an event for the better and prevent harm is often silenced in the moment or shunned after the fact if they do speak up.

The EMS application

ABLE is designed for law enforcement personnel, but all the concepts it is built on apply equally to EMS and the fire service.

EMS providers may be less likely than law enforcement to have dangerous confrontations with members of the public, but it is happening with increasing frequency in recent years. Additionally, ABLE teaches skills that apply to individuals and groups in a non-emergency setting, such as in the station. Knowing how to effectively intervene when individuals or groups are going off the rails could save a paramedic’s career, in addition to protecting the reputation of a department.

The important third prong of the ABLE mission is improving officer health and wellness. Many EMTs and paramedics have had the experience of seeing a coworker’s behavioral health change but did not know how to address it or what resources might be available to help. As a result, providers may descend into personal crisis and even violence before any action is taken to help them.

ABLE serves to institutionalize positive active bystandership. When ABLE is in place in an organization, individuals are no longer alone when deciding whether to act. There is an organizational ethic in place that action is expected, and that positive intervention is part of all members’ duty.

“No story to tell”

Active bystandership is a quiet revolution in the emergency services. As one ABLE leader said, “If you do this right, there is no story to tell.” The program seeks to redefine the meaning of loyalty and courage, giving people tools to make a difference when they are needed most. And isn’t that what being an emergency responder is all about?

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